AquaJar: A self-cleaning fish bowl with a plant on its head

7 Oct 2015

Betta fish, which are ideal for the AquaJar

A new Kickstarter campaign has caught my eye, with AquaJar combining the joys of owning plants and pets, all while removing the chore of cleaning up after them. “A love story between fish and plant,” the project page claims.

AquaJar is basically a big jar with a fish swimming around in it, and a plant pot above its head. The device uses an “aquaponic” (me neither) system, which sees the plant eat up the fish grime, essentially working as an organic filter.

The fish poop is used as fertiliser for the plant, which in turn cleans the water, mimicking “how our oceans and lakes naturally clean themselves,” according to the team behind the campaign.

Ok, that all sounds a bit ludicrous, but take a look at the video – this is pretty cool.

Not many fish options, but plants galore

The fish you can use seem limited to betta, originating from Southeast Asia and used to swimming in shallow, vegetation-heavy water.

The plant options, though, are impressive. You can choose from jade, spider plant, snake plant, bamboo, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, arrowhead plant and heartleaf philodendron.

If flowers are more your buzz, then passion flower, petunias, calibrachoa and marigolds work, as do all flowers that grow from a bulb.

You can either grow the plant from seeds or, if you’re more impatient, just plop an already grown plant into the basket and load it on top.

“We have discovered a way to help prevent algae growth by using natural barley extract to help reduce unwanted algae that plagues all types of fish bowls,” says the team behind AquaJAr, with a drop every day or so needed.

You feed the fish as normal, and add water as it slowly evaporates, but otherwise you are set.

AquaJar montage

My woes forgotten

I had three fish not so long ago, and I absolutely hated cleaning the tank (which was way too big). In fact, the main positive the fish took from the cleaning was that they spent a few minutes in a full bath of water.

Ok, I was an amateur fish owner. They didn’t last too long.

Aiming for a modest US$16,450, the team behind AquaJar has already nearly reached their target with a full three weeks remaining.

Should they reach that, then they can pursue with a full inventory, with the potential for far larger variants of the jar if the funding continues. Which I think it will.

Bidding US$10 earns you a manual to build your own, with US$25 nabbing you the actual product.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic